Prep Wrestling

Cascade wrestler Aidan Noonan follows memorable junior season finale with strong senior start

Top-ranked 132-pounder won 100th straight match Tuesday, approaches school wins record

West Sioux's Adam Allard wrestles Cascade's Aidan Noonan in their 126-pound Class 1A championship match at the IHSAA Sta
West Sioux’s Adam Allard wrestles Cascade’s Aidan Noonan in their 126-pound Class 1A championship match at the IHSAA State Wrestling Tournament at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. Noonan won the match. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
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CASCADE — Aidan Noonan produced one of the most memorable moments in state wrestling history.

In search of his own second state crown, Noonan scored four late points and thwarted West Sioux’s Adam Allard’s attempt to become Iowa’s 28th four-time champion.

The sold-out Wells Fargo Arena crowd rose to its feet. Some fans roared and applauded. Many others were stunned and stared with their hands on their heads. Cascade’s only state titlist had made history, but he didn’t revel in it for long. Noonan’s focus quickly shifted to his senior season and training.

“I was over it and started getting ready for this season the next day,” said Noonan, who earned Class 1A gold at 126 and 113 pounds. “I was out running and lifting and doing something Sunday night. I didn’t really hit Cloud 9.

“It was just like, ‘Great, I did it. I’ve got to go on to the next thing and get it done.’ I don’t know if that’s how I’m wired or what but that’s how it goes for me.”

The tireless drive has allowed Noonan to pick up exactly where he left off last season. The University of Wyoming signee improved to 13-0 with three victories Tuesday, extending his win streak to 100 matches. He is ranked 10th at 132 nationally by flowrestling.com.

“From the end of last season, he’s been looking at just getting better and perfecting his game,” Cascade Coach Travis Andrews said. “He put in a lot of time on the mat since last season. He wants to have fun, enjoy it and make the most of it.”

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If Noonan didn’t garner attention with his perfect sophomore season, his junior year finale did. He became the first to beat a three-time state champion in the state finals, doing so in dramatic fashion. Noonan earned a penalty point for stalling before cranking a power-half for three nearfall points and 4-2 decision as time expired.

He was extremely relaxed and clearheaded that evening. Noonan joked around under the stands and even helped Midland Coach Casey Huston tie his tie before the hallowed Grand March. It was an example of his confidence and levelheaded approach.

“I’m going to give my best effort,” Noonan said. “That is all I can do. I can’t be ashamed of myself if I don’t win because I gave it my best shot. I don’t think about the other guy much. I just go in there and do whatever I can.”

Even though Noonan turned the page of the history book he wrote in February, Andrews admits that he remains excited and amazed by the feat.

“It was a memorable experience,” Andrews said. “It was something that doesn’t come around very often and it was something for us to enjoy. He’s looking to make more memories, yet, this year.”

Wrestling memories began when Noonan was about 5 years old. Like many, he followed a sibling into the sport. Noonan grew up playing baseball and football as well, but wrestling emerged as a favorite and it was his top priority by his sophomore year.

“It started real young,” Noonan said. “My brother went into his first year of wrestling. I had to go everywhere my brother went, so I jumped in the car, went to practice that night and went from there.

“It got to the point I started getting better and liking it more. All of a sudden, I bit the hook and did that full-time. I stopped doing other sports because I loved it so much.”

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The offseason was devoted to wrestling in clubs. When the pandemic prevented him from working out with the Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club, he spent time with Dubuque Wrestling Club and Young Guns Wrestling Club led by four-time Maquoketa state champion and four-time Iowa All-American Eric Juergens.

“I get to wrestle different guys and can see different ways of wrestling,” Noonan said. “I get to learn from totally different coaches with different skill sets. It worked out great so I can widen my skill sets and learn from different guys. I always look for good guys to wrestle with and challenge myself.”

The experience has been more enjoyable than a year ago. Last season, Noonan missed most of December with a back injury. He had to travel to Dyersville for Pilates class to help with rehab, which helped strengthen his core and return to action in January.

“I get to go out there and do what I love to do,” Noonan said. “I love competing. It sucked last year, having to sit out, so this year is a lot better.”

Top-ranked Noonan has nine pins this season, two forfeits and two decisions. He outscored opponents 13-1 in two matches that went the distance, including a 5-0 victory over Wilton’s No. 3 Kael Brisker. Noonan owns 148 career wins, trailing his older brother, Nolan, by 12 for the school record.

“He’s a very coachable kid,” Andrews said. “Coaches called when recruiting him and asked what type of kid is he. He is the type of kid that you’d want to marry your daughter.

“It says a lot about him, his family and his parents and his upbringing. He’s done a lot of wrestling for a long time. He knows what it takes.”

Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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